Gatwick 2nd runway – GACC explains the 10 key reasons why not

GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – has set out clearly the reasons why a 2nd runway at Gatwick should not be built. First, the runway would be only 400 yards from homes in Crawley, with the airport boundary just 100 yards away. The noise and pollution for those residents can only be imagined. The impact of an airport the size of Heathrow at Gatwick would have immense consequences on the area, in terms of noise, large inward migration of labour, additional housing, the urbanisation of rural areas, not to mention loss of peace an quiet. The runway shown on the Gatwick airport plan is too close to the existing runway to allow space for a new terminal and for aircraft to manoeuvre safely on the ground. Gatwick can never accommodate 4 runways, which would be needed if a vast hub airport was regarded as necessary for the UK.  The expansion of air travel on a scale to require new runways would be ruled out by the UK’s climate change targets.  The forecast expansion of aviation is largely due to aviation fuel not being taxed and air tickets not being subject to VAT (APD is small by comparison). 


                                       Gatwick, sandwiched between Horley (north) and Crawley (south). Click map to enlarge.


22.10.2012 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Gatwick runway – 10 reasons why not

The GACC Committee, which represents the whole area around Gatwick (up to 20 miles from the airport), has discussed the announcement by Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) that they will be examining the options for a new runway at Gatwick.[1]

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said:  ‘We are totally opposed to a new runway on environmental grounds.  In previous battles we have been supported by all the local MPs and all the County, District and Parish Councils in a wide area.

If necessary, we will resume the battle.

The ten main points against a new runway are:

1.  The new runway, as referred to in the GAL announcement, would only be about 400 yards from the residential area of Crawley, with the airport boundary only 100 yards away.  Noise and pollution would have a serious impact on many of the 100,000 people living in Crawley.

2. Doubling the size of Gatwick would mean twice as many aircraft, twice the noise, twice the pollution, twice the airport-related road traffic, and new flight-paths over areas at present peaceful, for example Horsham.

3.  Making Gatwick the same size as Heathrow today would require a new terminal, the size of T5 at Heathrow.  Also a large inward migration of labour, additional housing, and the urbanisation of rural areas.

4.  It is wrong of GAL to suggest that it matters less to inflict noise on the people living around Gatwick than those near Heathrow just because there are fewer of them. Vast swathes of Kent, Surrey and Sussex are already adversely affected by noise generated by Gatwick’s operations.

5.  The area around Gatwick is not sparsely populated but has many large towns and villages. It is blessed with several areas of outstanding natural beauty such as Ashdown Forest or Leith Hill each offering tranquillity to about a million visitors a year. Aircraft noise is accentuated by low background noise.

6.  The runway shown on the GAL plan is too close to the existing runway to allow space for a new terminal and for aircraft to manoeuvre safely on the ground.[2]

7.  Gatwick can never provide the four-runway hub airport that many consider necessary to compete with Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt.

8.  The expansion of air travel on a scale to require new runways would be ruled out by the UK’s climate change targets.

9.  The expansion of aviation is largely due to the fact that aviation fuel is untaxed and air tickets are not subject to VAT (air passenger duty is small by comparison).

10. The need for a new runway in the South East is frequently exaggerated.  Gatwick is only ¾ full and Stansted less than ½ full.  Previous forecasts have been proved wrong:  in 1970 BAA said they needed a new Gatwick runway by 1980;  in 1989 the CAA said a new runway in the SE was needed by 1995;  in 2003 the Government said that a new runway should be built at Stansted by 2012;  the latest official forecasts indicate that a new runway somewhere in the South East is needed by 2030.

But that will be proved wrong again if the price of oil goes up.


[1]  17 October (see below)

[2]  That was the view of British Airways in their response to Government consultation on new runways 2003.  It is also admitted by Gatwick Airport in their 2012 master plan, paragraph 10.3.6




see also

Gatwick airport to push for 2nd runway – opponents say scheme has repeatedly been found impracticable

October 17, 2012

Gatwick has declared its intent to push for a 2nd runway and is to start drawing up detailed plans for government approval. The airport says the runway is “affordable and practical” and will allow it to compete with Heathrow. Although an agreement prohibits any new runway opening before 2019 at Gatwick, the airport is to start detailed work on the options, to be presented to the Davies Commission – with a view to getting the go-ahead after the next election. The airport says a 2nd runway would increase capacity to 70 million passengers a year (it handled around 33 million in 2011) and would also mean the construction of a third terminal building. Campaigners warned they would “fight tooth and nail” against any proposal. Brendon Sewill of GACC said: “The option they have got does not make for a good airport, with no proper space for planes and a new terminal between them [the runways] – unless they’re demolishing part of Crawley. We are totally opposed on environmental grounds. I don’t believe a new runway will be built until Stansted is full, but it’s a long way off. They’re putting their hat in the ring. They’ve said they want to sell the airport in 2018 so our guess is that they’re aiming to keep the price up for when they sell it rather than building a runway.”    Click here to view full story…




In 2003, GACC produced a booklet, explaining why a close-spaced runway to the south (what is currently being proposed) would not work. And also why the more widely spaced runway proposed to the nort (which was they being suggested) would also not work.

This is at  “Gatwick – why a new runway won’t work“.




This map shows the Gatwick North and South terminals, and the existing runway. A second runway, to the south of the existing one, would mean that either a massive new terminal has to be built south of the existing runway, in the small space between runways, or planes have to cross the path of the existing runway, in order to reach the southern runway, from either of the existing terminals.

The map below shows the location of a proposed 2nd runway, right along the northern boundary of Crawley.  (Horley is to the north east of the existing terminals etc) so Gatwick is   sandwiched between the two towns.


The tight space between Horley to the north east, and Crawley to the south, is very clear on this MAP